Saturday, July 12, 2008

the girl who had a bad hair day and everything that followed...

A year ago I gave birth to this little wonder right here.

my little Eli-phant

So to celebrate his momentous milestone, we planned a joint party with some friends, one who has a birthday on Sunday, and my FIL who has his birthday Monday.

Saturday morning I wake up, do some housework and then set out to run errands to get ready for our get together.

I take Zack with me as the first order of business is to allow the boy to see again by getting him a haircut. We go to the same place we always go and I describe what I'd like to the stylist. "Surfer cut, chunky and shaggy, bring the hair in the back up to the nape, and shorten the bangs to above the eyebrows."

I was picturing something like this:

What we ended up with was this:

Not really the look I was going for. A brown football helmet with a circle cut out for the face. So I try again. I show the stylist a picture on the wall. I repeat, "chunky, shaggy, skater style, Zac Efron."

So she cuts and snips some more and Zack ends up with this do:

Definitely NOT what I had in mind. I'm sure its a good cut technically, but it is not what I described or what I showed from the picture. I was pretty disappointed and actually, quite mad. I had to go to Target next door, so I figured I'd walk around for a little bit and see if I could get used to it. If not, we'd go back afterwards and get a different stylist to see if we could fix it.

So we go to Target and I'm looking for gifts for my boy, our friend, and my FIL. I find these (Jen Jen, they don't make them in larger than 18 month size, but they DO have the cutest little robot hoodies up to 4T, thought you'd like to know.)

Gift for baby, check. Gift for friend, check. Gift for FIL...not so much.

So I call home and ask dh what a good present would be. He is absolutely no help whatsoever and in my present state of mind, I'm not really in the mood. The ensuing conversations had me in a state of extreme frustration. THEN I get the news that we are expected over at the friends' house ASAP as the birthday girl had been called into work. So no going back to get Zacky's hair fixed. So I'm frustrated at Zacky's hair, irritated at dh's "cooperation" (or lack therof) and now I'm in a rush too!

So I stop by Publix on way home to pick up the birthday cake. I had not been particularly enthused about any of the birthday cake designs in the book at the bakery and had not pre-ordered a cake. I figured, they were all so "meh" why spend the extra money on a trademarked design? I planned to just get a generic decorated cake from the cooler and have them personalize it. I grab one, give them the names and rush to pay and get home. After I finish paying, I'm walking out (in frustrated, irritated, rushed mood) with Zack trailing behind me, and I TRIP OVER A DISPLAY which sends me to my knees and the cake flying.

I had had it.

I broke down.

I covered my face with my hands and just gave up, crying in the middle of the highest traffic area at Publix with an embarrassed boy behind me and a squished mass of buttercream and marble cake in front of me.

A very kind bagger came over, and overlooking the insanity factor, helped me up, guided me back to the bakery and helped me get a replacement cake. He carried it out to the car, wished me well, and told me to bring Eli by to show him off. He was a lifesaver. I don't like breaking down in Public like that. I prefer to maintain the illusion I have it all under control, but it just seemed that all the little things were hitting me hard that morning.

In the end, I got my cake:

We went over to the friends' house and enjoyed it:

We found the world's tiniest frog swimming in the pool:

and generally had a much improved evening.

When we got home, I stripped Eli down and gave him another piece of cake for the gratitious icing shots. Let me tell you, this kid is pretty neat compared to his brothers. He barely got any on him! A trifle disappointing, actually. lol.

But, he certainly thought it was yummy!

Yes, that is the secret to neatness: lick your fingers clean!

And Papa Smurf was celebrating right alonf with us. If you ever wondered what happened to Parker, we passed him on to Papa Smurf. He fell in love with him and now he's not so lonely anymore. Parker has grown into a MOOSE! But he is still a huge old teddy bear.

Abuello has left, and he took Zacky with him. Yep, he has kidnapped Zack for the week and will return him next weekend. We talked on Sunday night and I told him I missed him already, the house was so quiet. His reply was, "I know why! My brothers must be sleeping!"


Sunday, July 06, 2008

the girl who had a happy 4th

I will start this post by admitting we really don't celebrate the Fourth of July. It isn't that we are unpatriotic or anything: we simply don't like crowds. And the Fourth of July seems to be nothing but crowds.

However, I impulsively bought sparklers this year, figuring the boys were old enough to handle this trip to the emergency room on a stick. Plus, I wanted to try out this setting on my camera to see if I could get some cool shots. It all comes down to the photo ops, folks.

Then friends of Aramis' Dad invited us over for a barbecue and day in the pool for the following day, so we actually got out of the house.

And how does this fabulous holiday pay me back when I finally decide to acknowledge it?

It rains.

Don't we have some deal with the weather gods that it will not rain on the 4th of July? Seriously.

It had cleared up by the evening, and I got out the sparklers.

I cannot describe the chaos that ensued as soon as I walked out the door with sparklers in hand. It seemed as if every neighborhood kid converged on my doorstep insisting I give them a sparkler to play with. Being the mean mom that I am, I repeatedly said, "No, you need your parent's permission." It was amazing how many said "Oh, my parents let me play with hot molten fire on a stick on a regular basis, it really is no problem at all." So I took their word for it and grudgingly allowed a single sparkler each, praying there would be no opportunity for a lawsuit.

But I held some back, and after watching the neighbors light various incendiary devices in the parking lot, I tried again. And this time I got my pictures. Mission accomplished!

The next day, the weather gods smiled upon us and it did not rain. We went over to the aforementioned friends' house. They have a pool. My kids do not know how to swim. I have not been in a bathing suit since...well, I'm not sure since when, but I do know that it was at least one kid ago. Needless to say, the whole operation required an immense amount of courage.

I'm happy to say that I, all of my children and my spouse, survived. It was funny, Matthew couldn't wait to get in the pool and started stripping down (like he knew what he was doing) the second he saw it. Ian was dead set against the whole idea. Aramis had to wrestle him into swim trunks and practically throw him into the pool to get him to go splash in the shallow end. Zack was all for it and was begging me to teach him to swim.

Fast forward.

One accidental dunking and a snootful of water later, Matthew had enough of the pool and did NOT want to go back in. Ian was a little fish, staying in until the bitter end when I had to pull him out, kicking and screaming, lest I end up with a raisin for a son, and Zack decided learning to swim was not nearly as much fun as simple scooting around the edge of the pool by hanging onto the wall.

And what about Eli? Eli was chill. All the other boys, when introduced to the water, held on for dear life. Eli took to the water like he was born to it. Kicking his little legs in the water, resting serenely on the back of the obsequious inflatable aligator, and all in all, having a groovy time.

Besides the pool, there was the food. Every time I turned around, there was food being pushed upon us. The kids ate it up (if you'll pardon the expression) and pretty much had something in their mouth all day long. These friends decided they were in love with our kids, so when Aramis and I were tired and worn out, they shooed us home and we left the kiddos with them. We came home, did a little housework, took a teeny nap and three hours later, we picked them up again.

It was a nice break. We might do it again sometime.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

the girl who has a three day weekend (and a migraine)

One is not caused by the other, I promise.

It just seems fated that I would have a terrible, horrible, no good day at work when I have a long weekend coming up.

First, it was a "but first" day.

I have to get these I-9's finished, but first I better check that blinking red light on my phone and return some calls, but first I better meet with the DOL Investigator, but first I better term someone, but first I better go to my meeting, but first I need to investigate an incident, but first I need to stop and listen sympathetically while someone complains about their performance review, but first I need to stop and listen sympathetically to their subordinate complain about the job he's been assigned, but first I need to go term someone, but first I better get an escort 'cuz he's a BIG guy, but first I need to talk to the owner, but first I need to get back to the office, but first I need to term someone else, but first I better get something to eat, but first I better take care of the dozen notes I wrote in my notebook, but first I better check that blinking red light on my phone AGAIN, but first I need to take care of the background checks of the dozen employees managers have hired despite the hiring feeze, but first I better get ready to go home, but first I better put my desk in some semblance of order, but first I better get those I-9's finished.


Then I'm driving home and my cell phone rings. Yes, my cell phone. I haven't had one for about a year and I've gotten along just fine and what happens? The company issues me one. Now I can be reached night and day.


Then I get home and the tingling in my scalp that always seems to preclude a migraine starts to intesify. It actually feels like I have bruises on my scalp. And I come home to a house full of boys whose every sentence starts with "Mommy, can I?" or "Mommy, I want..." in the highest pitched tones.

So I take some pills which are always unpredicatable. Sometimes they make me pass out within 20 minutes. Other times they bring the migraine to a terrible climax where I can feel every blood vessel in my head tighten and squeeze until I am literally tearing up and curled in the fetal position bargaining with the Flying Spaghetti Monster to just let me pass out and slip into peaceful oblivian, and other times--such as tonight--I feel oddly detached and energized. I feel the blood throbbing through my head, but it's relaxing, like a massage and the fuzzy blackness on the edge of my vision is just makes everything a little vignette. I tried to sleep, but my mind was restless, so I got up to read. And now I'm here, listening to people set of firecrackers a night early, and I particularly stress the NIGHT part.

So I'm a little grumpy.

At the same time, looking back on the day, it's just so nice to feel the stress again. To have something to do and to feel necessary. Even coming home to the four screaming monsters...they're MY monsters and they love me and need me, and I them.

Maybe it's the drugs, maybe it's the day finally winding down and giving me the opportunity to reflect, or maybe it's just me being the babbling idiot that I am, but it was a fulfilling day--migraine and all--and it makes me appreciate the long weekend that much more.